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Changing Channels — Fridge-to-Go, Original Singing Bird Clock, Smartdog Jerky and more

BY Alaric DeArment

I’m with cocoa
Crio Brü offers a new take on hot chocolate, made with real cocoa beans, with all the health properties thereof, and brewed just like coffee.
Price: $11.97
CrioBru.com

Consideration for odors
Poo-Pourri sells a line of toilet bowl deodorizers for goers on the go that neutralizes unpleasant smells with a mix of infused herbs.
Price: $9.95 – $16.95
PooPourri.com

The ‘cool’ factor
DistribUSA has launched Fridge-to-Go, a line of totes that provides up to 16 hours of cooling, but without ice packs or electricity.
Price: $18 – $55
MyFridgeToGo.com


What’s the scoop?
iScoopy Pal is a cardboard contraption designed for picking up dog poop, available in sizes for German shepherds and chihuahuas in 30-day supplies.
Price: $16 – $20
iScoopy.com

Baby type
Babies start learning from the moment they’re born, so why not prepare them for the modern world with VTech’s toy version of the ubiquitous laptop?
Price: $15.99
VTechKids.com


Welcome to the birdhouse
Spring and summer mean bird watching, but the Original Singing Bird Clock offers the pleasure of listening to a different songbird every hour.
Price: $14.95 (small), $24.95 (large)
MarkFeldstein.com

Hot diggity-dog
Ladbird & Friends has a line of flavored hot sauces named for the owners’ four-legged friends. The company donates 5% of the profits to the ASPCA.
Price: $5.50 – $5.99
LadyBirdAndFriends.com

 

Drink wittily
CoolCups and Stuff! sells a wide variety of cups, tea towels, napkins and other items printed with funny jokes and quips.
Price: Wholesale prices are $1.50 and up, depending on the item
CoolCupsAndStuff.com

¡Muy picante!
DuneCraft sells a variety of growing kits, includign this one, which provides everything needed to grow more than two dozen hot pepper plants.
Price: $24.99
DuneCraft.com


Jerking the chain
Like humans, dogs are at risk of weight problems and diabetes. But Smartdog Jerky offers all-natural and healthy treats.
Price: $10.99 – $20.99
SmartdogJerky.com

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Nielsen, MyWebGrocer enter alliance to measure online supermarket sales

BY Allison Cerra

ORLANDO, Fla. — Nielsen has teamed up with a provider of digital grocery tools and a grocery media network to offer consumer packaged goods companies a view into consumers’ online supermarket purchases.

As part of its partnership with MyWebGrocer to measure U.S. online supermarket sales, Nielsen said that it has acquired a license to MyWebGrocer’s e-commerce sales information, aggregated from 60 U.S. supermarket retailers. Through this license, Nielsen will utilize its Online Basket View provide regular insights on online supermarket shopping sales, including online shopping basket purchases, for its retail clients included in the MyWebGrocer network.

Nielsen Online Basket View insights are slated to be available to CPG manufacturers in third quarter 2011, Nielsen said, noting that it plans to measure approximately 30% of all online U.S. supermarket sales. Currently, no aggregate reporting of actual online supermarket sales data is available in the industry, the company said.

"We’re making it possible — for the first time — for CPG companies to understand online shoppers with the same rigor we apply to offline shopping analytics," Nielsen strategic initiatives president John Burbank said. "We can share our insights into what decisions and purchases shoppers are making online, where and when."

Added MyWebGrocer chief strategy officer Alec Newcomb, "Online and offline, consumer shopping behaviors are converging. At MyWebGrocer, we connect shoppers to retailers and brands, and Nielsen’s expertise in what consumers watch and buy makes it a natural organization for us to work with so we can help CPG companies understand their impact in the digital shopping channel."

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A slow ride on the Walmart Express

BY Mike Troy


BENTONVILLE, Ark. — The new small-format Walmart Express stores that opened earlier this month are an interesting concept with intriguing growth potential. But for the time being, and possibly for much longer, competitors need not concern themselves with the small stores.


At least that’s what Walmart wants the marketplace to believe following the opening of the first few of the 15,000-sq.-ft. stores earlier this month in northwest Arkansas.


The product mix is squarely in Walmart’s sweet spot of food and consumables, and from a shoppers’ perspective, the store experience is consistent with the look and feel of a supercenter. Investment analysts and media were given a preview tour of the stores prior to the company’s June 3 shareholders’ meeting, which led to inevitable speculation around how many of stores the company could open and the time frame in which it could open them.


If Dollar General can open 625 new stores annually, which it is doing this year, what would Walmart be capable of?


If a comparable or even greater rate of growth is in the cards, Walmart executives made it clear it will be years before a rollout occurs, with the greatest near-term opportunity being further supercenter expansion.


During a meeting with analysts after touring the Walmart Express, Bill Simon, president and CEO of Walmart U.S., said, “I hope you didn’t take the tour of small stores as an overemphasis on small stores. The supercenter is and will remain our best growth vehicle. The returns on the supercenter are better than anything else we’re building.”


With supercenters as the company’s primary driver of domestic growth, Walmart Express isn’t even the next concept in line, according to Simon. That concept would be the Neighborhood Market, recently rebranded as Walmart Mart, which measures between 30,000 and 40,000 sq. ft.


“That has been a format we’ve been building over 10 or 12 years now, and in the last two or three years have gotten it to be a really good return vehicle for us,” Simon said. “We reported in the first quarter that that format is delivering positive comps in the 4% range, and [we] are very happy with what it’s doing from a sales and a productivity standpoint.”


Even Walmart Stores president and CEO Mike Duke sought to temper expectations around the expansion potential of the Express concept after an analyst raised the issue of how it would take thousands of the small stores to move the needle on financial results given Walmart’s size. Duke agreed and reminded attendees at the meeting that the smallest of the company’s small formats is a long-term project.


“If you look at the way Walmart has built formats in the [United States], we’ve been patient,” Duke said, referring first to the supercenter development and then the initial Neighborhood Markets. “I wouldn’t be counting on in the near term a great deal of impact from the very small stores,” Duke advised analysts.


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